In Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai is taking a bold stand for hardline fundamentalist orthodoxy:
The Afghan government has alarmed human rights groups by approving a plan to reintroduce a Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the body which the Taliban used to enforce its extreme religious doctrine. The proposal, which came from the country's Ulema council of clerics, has been passed by the cabinet of President Hamid Karzai and will now go before the Afghan parliament.The article goes on to say that some Western diplomats are "uneasy" about this development. Others, it seems, appreciate the fact that beating up on women can ease political and economic tensions:
"This is an Islamic republic and sharia is a part of the constitution," one diplomat said on condition of anonymity. "If it is constitutional and within the framework of the International Convention on Human Rights [to which Afghanistan is a signatory] then it could represent a public information victory for the government."It's inconceivable that a fundamentalist police force dedicated to "the prevention of vice" could fall within the framework of the International Convention on Human Rights. If it did, it'd be a failure.
Karzai apparently believes he can earn a temporary indulgence from the "defeated" Taliban by officially sacrificing the negligible autonomy, safety, and privacy Afghan women currently have, without facing any serious criticism from Western governments. Sad to say, he's probably right. This is the sort of unethical tightrope-walking that routinely leads Western reporters to hail Karzai as "shrewd."
I should add that in contrast to Karzai, all American politicians who pander to homegrown fundamentalist misogyny do so out of honest spiritual concern for our nation's moral values.
(Photo from RAWA.)